JSE: Bond markets need more transparency

2011-11-16 12:17

Cape Town - A lot more transparency is needed in the interest rate markets considering the importance they have for governments to raise money, says Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) deputy CEO Nicky Newton-King.

Presenting before Parliament's Select Committee on Finance on Wednesday, Newton-King said that most interest rate instruments, that included government bonds, were traded over the counter.

"There has been a lot of noise about developments in the interest rate markets and in particular that they don't have enough transparency at the moment. However, discussions are moving in a manner that may result in a compromise. But there are lots of developments in this country as are there overseas as governments need to raise money," she said.

Newton-King said it was unlikely that the 24 stock exchanges on the African continent would merge into one and she also emphasised that the JSE was not aiming to "colonise" Africa.

However, she said there were still lots of opportunities for integration through technology and linking.

"Imagine saying to an investor in Mauritius that you can trade on the JSE from Mauritius and South African investors can trade directly on the Mauritius market," Newton-King said.

She said that a lot could be done in looking at issues such a cross-listing of companies and that the recent relaxation of prudential regulations by the National Treasury would make that a more reasonable proposition.

Newton-King also said African stock exchanges needed to increase their sophistication and access and there were a lot of opportunities on the continent.

"The (investor) appetite for Africa is now; we need to harness that and I have been hearted by the increased reflection in the media of SA becoming the financial gateway to Africa and we need policies that will encourage people to come and list to raise capital to invest in the continent," Newton-King said.